Here's a brief Q&A round-up from this informative session presented at the NEXT Summit on August 5, on tackling short- and long-term goals in healthcare organizations.
Moderator: Deepak Gaddipati - CTO and Founder, VirtuSense Technologies
Michael Cruz, MD - CEO of the Central Region of OSF Healthcare and COO of OSF Healthcare
Imran Amjad Andrabi, MD - President and CEO, ThedaCare
What are Health Systems doing to prep for the next two years?
The journey is not to be a healthcare organization, but to be a population health organization. What we’ve been doing the past 60 years is not working. I used to say that healthcare systems are beautifully built for people who have nothing else to do. That is not what we want to be. What we really want to do is design a system of systems that enables us to go down a path to truly reinvent how healthcare needs to be delivered and meet people where they are.
As recently as a year or two before the pandemic, we started investing in the digital space. It put us in a good position when the pandemic hit. It wasn’t perfect, but we would have been really behind the eight ball had we not done that work. We already had some digital capabilities and some understanding of the competencies that were needed when COVID-19 hit. We put a chatbot in place in January 2020, and within that year we had seen over 1 million people thru the chatbot. We could not have seen 1/10 of those people in our clinics, hospitals, prompt cares, or emergency departments.
Delegating budgets in the short- and long-term is where the challenge lies. How do you separate the immediate fires and think ahead to the future?
There are operational costs that are immediate and created a whole other set of issues during the pandemic. Then we have the workforce issues today where 20-25% of people just left healthcare. That has also put a lot of pressure from a cost perspective of what people are demanding to be paid, given what they’ve seen during the crisis.
The other bucket is investing in technology and trying to create solutions for the long-term. Capital dollars go into infrastructure and tech. It’s not in the same pool as quality and safety. We are thoughtfully bifurcating those decisions, so they are not entangled with each other.
You need to determine how much to invest in technology—I don’t want to underestimate that. If you clear $100M and less than 1% is spent in the digital space, then you get what you paid for.
People are very amenable to the virtual experience when it works. We need to figure out how to deliver this care when people leave the hospital so we can monitor them remotely and provide them the care they need at home. There are a lot of companies in this space, but they are all solving different issues and none of the systems work together which is a huge problem.
Three things must change:
The current healthcare business model does not allow us to do things we need to do because we’re afraid we won’t get paid; when we know the right thing to do, we don’t do it, because we’ve conditioned people to not do the right things. The other problem is finding people willing to do that with you. Nobody wants to say let’s take some of that money and figure out how to solve that problem. It’s not that there’s not enough money in healthcare. There’s a lot of money, but it’s not flowing to the people who need it.
What should the clinical operational model look like to deliver on the business model? We have to connect the pieces of the patient’s healthcare journey and quit working as clinical silos.
What does the culture of healthcare need to look like to deliver on the business model and the clinical operational model? All of these solutions need to work together interdependently otherwise the data points coming from different sources cause confusion and make decisions decision making so much harder.
The problem is not technology. The problem is people. If you want to scale technology, you have to have the right people and systems to implement it.